- Special Pages
DOHA/KATHMANDU: Qatar Airways has become the first airline in the world to fly an aircraft with a new navigational approach into the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, which has a highly complicated terrain surrounded by the lofty Himalayan mountains.
The airline implemented a Required Navigation Performance — Authorisation Required (RNP AR) approach into Kathamandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport.
Qatar Airways currently operates four flights a day between its Doha hub and Kathmandu, one of the carrier’s most popular routes.
Locked in the Himalayan mountain range, Kathmandu has one of the world’s most complicated approaches due to the surrounding challenging terrain.
Flying an RNP AR approach into Tribhuvan airport reduces pilots’ workload considerably and allows them to take full benefit of the advanced navigation equipment installed in aircraft to easily circumnavigate difficult terrain, the airline said yesterday.
With a smooth descent and fully stabilised approach, it leads to significant safety improvements and reduces the required visibility compared with current standard flying procedures.
The RNP AR procedure allows an aircraft to automatically fly accurate trajectories without relying on ground-based navigation aids, optimises airspace utilisation and reduces diversions in difficult weather conditions.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said safety was the number one priority for the airline.
“The airline takes all necessary steps possible to enhance safety measures throughout our operation without hesitation, whether in the air or on the ground. The new safety procedures adopted on our aircraft significantly enhance navigations procedures and make it an overall improved flying experience for our crew.”
Working closely with key industry associates, Qatar Airways has partnered with the French procedures designer QUOVADIS, an Airbus-owned company, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to design and implement the Kathmandu RNP AR procedure.
Airbus Senior Vice-President & Chief Product Safety Officer Yannick Malinge said new technological capabilities like RNP allow aircraft to improve descent trajectory and reduce non-stabilised approaches.
“These two criteria are essential when operating in a complicated environment like Nepal’s airspace, in particular the Kathmandu approach. Airbus would like to congratulate Qatar Airways and the Nepalese authorities on the outstanding results achieved for this RNP-AR project in Kathmandu and we are delighted to have contributed to this major milestone.”
Director General of Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority T R Manandhar said the RNP AR approach procedure was introduced to find a solution to the current difficulties of high terrain, adding the authority now expected other airline operators to adopt new procedure attracting them to fly into Kathmandu.